Archive for the ‘relaxation’ Tag

11-21-2014 Fall in Maine!   Leave a comment

I needed a few hours of peace and quiet and since that’s virtually impossible at home I decided to take my camera and disappear into the woods for a couple of hours.  The temperature was in the low forties which made the woods a little more bearable than normal.  No hordes of black flies and gnats and no sweating through my clothing because of the summer heat.  That’s a win/win anytime for me and motivates me to make more visits during these cooler months.

As I walked onto the trail the first thing I noticed was the absolute quiet. That’s a Winter quiet that takes a little getting used to.  During warm weather the place is nothing but noise from birds, squirrels, and any other wildlife that’s passing through the area.  The leaves have fallen and the fields of milkweed pods have opened up and spilled their seeds everywhere.




This place is usually teeming with birds but almost all of them have headed south for the Winter.  I saw two cardinals frolicking through the nearby trees filled with red berries.  They should be really happy, there’s enough berries in this area to feed them and all of their friends until next summer.  If you squint just a little you can just see the male cardinal keeping an close eye on me while his mate eats nearby.


I always try to visit the small ponds and swamps when I’m here and today I found the places dead quiet as well.  It’s been just cold enough over the last few days to begin freezing the ponds.  Even in these conditions I still love spending time here and I’m not sure why, I just do.



Another thing I like about the late Fall is that the leaves have dropped and now make it possible to see things you normally can’t.  It’s the only time of the year when I can truly appreciate the beauty of the white birch trees scattered throughout these woods.  They almost seem to glow in the bright sunlight and it’s really breathtaking.



The quarter mile before returning to my car is a walk that takes me through an area diverse with every kind of tree and bush.  It always seems in such perfect balance, something Mother Nature seems to be very good at.



As I return home I feel refreshed and relaxed, something that always occurs after I’ve spent some time here.  I’ll be returning soon after the first significant snow fall to begin my 2014 Winter collection of photos.

I’m still stalking my friend, the big fat barn owl.  I took this picture a few years ago and have been trying to find him just one more time ever since.  I’ve seen him flying overhead on many occasions but he apparently roosts  in some of the tallest pine trees located along the Scarborough River.  It makes getting any decent photographs very difficult. I hope some day my persistence pays off and he agrees to pose for me again.


07-01-2014 Journal Entry – Vacation Week & Weirdo’s!   2 comments

If I sound a little happy today there’s a good reason.  I just dropped my better-half at the Portland Jetport (that’s Maine’s way of saying airport) and she’s winging her way to the left coast for a week of fun and frolic with her son. They have quite the trip planned that includes a drive to Las Vegas to see a few shows and lose a few dollars.  As I ‘m writing this she should just be landing at O’Hare in Chicago.  Then she’s off to LA LA land to enjoy the sunny weather, the warm ocean, and a host of diverse weirdo’s.  She should be able to teach them a thing or two about what weirdness is really all about because she’s a pro.

“Remember honey, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

It’s a vacation for her but it’s also one for yours truly.  A total week of no C&W music blaring throughout the house and no one constantly looking over my shoulder.  Besides,  just mentioning that little tidbit is sure to get a rise out of her. Just to make sure she doesn’t get too upset with my sarcasm I thought I should roam the Internet to collect a few expert opinions and quotations on vacationing separately.

  • Taking time alone is a positive sign that the spouses are acknowledging and honoring each other’s careers and likes.
  • Taking separate vacations enables a person to understand that spending too much time together may hurt any relationship. “A couple needs time apart as much as time together.”
  • “What makes a relationship juicy and exciting are the different perspectives and experiences we bring to it. You need the separateness to appreciate the togetherness.”

In my humble opinion these quotations are almost word for word what I was thinking all along.  I’m glad I found an expert or two who were able to word it just the way I was thinking it (sarcasm off).

I see a week of total relaxation.  Also, this week will be clothing-optional around the house because I’m in total agreement with good old Benjamin Franklin who was an advocate of what he called "air baths".  Amen to that Ben!

I plan on hitting the beach here in Maine  a few times and should have quite the collection of photo’s to show for it. 


“Remember honey, what happens in Maine also stays in Maine.” LOL

For now the cat and I will spend a great deal of time relaxing on the deck. I’ll be reading a book or two and he’ll be chasing the occasional bird or squirrel. He’s pretty lazy and will probably just end up napping the entire week away in any one of his  numerous sleeping spots.

I may break out the margaritas one night and make some smoking hot tacos with a side of salsa or maybe even some kimchee.  Eat and drink until I drop then climb into a hot bath with a glass of really good brandy. Now that’s what I call a vacation.

I’d like to keep writing but it’s the first night of my vacation and I want to relax and enjoy it. I may even dig into my bag of fireworks and wake up the damn neighbors in the wee hours of the morning. After all it’s Fourth of July week and I intend to celebrate that birthday all week.




02-07-2014 Journal Entry – Workaholics!   Leave a comment

On any given day I enjoy relaxing.  It’s taken me a lot of years to learn how to relax after spending my working life as a six day a week workaholic. Even as a high stress workaholic I was able to relax but it was just as hard to make time for that as the job itself.  I knew when the job and my bosses needed to be ignored and occasionally paid a price for doing just that. I was also ridiculed at times by my workaholic co-workers but I knew where my limits were and tried never to exceed them.  Disconnecting from the everyday grind for me was the path to good mental health.  I’ve always used the light-switch analogy and have advised more people than I can remember to go home at the end of the day, turn off the work light-switch and  just relax.

I watched for years as retail management pushed associates into completing long lists of tasks and if they weren’t accomplished correctly the associates were then criticized for their lack of customer service skills.  It was a vicious cycle that produced “task oriented” people in large numbers with a terrible customer service (people) attitude.  Associates became brainwashed and unable to feel good about themselves unless their long list of tasks had been completed at work and at home.

“Stop, smell the flowers, and relax.”

I’ve been personality tested by my employers on many occasions.  I’m was always considered an “A” type personality who was a great multitasker, knew how to accomplish the goals set by the corporation and to “get the job done”. Little did they know that doing their tasks was the easy part of my day but getting their tasks done quickly and making time for myself was even more difficult. It was a full time job trying to survive my full time job. I was always successful in the job but when I had down time I used it.  When I was relaxing I put tasking out of my mind completely and that skill helped maintain my somewhat healthy outlook on things.

I’m now retired but I live with someone who is totally task oriented.  She works a full time retail job and she has a difficult time relaxing when she gets home. She feels like her day is a total failure without a long and completed “To Do” list.  I’ve been trying desperately for years to get her to turn off that “light switch” when she gets home but have only been moderately successful.  I’m nothing if not persistent but she can be just as hard headed as I am.  It’s a battle I’ll keep fighting because it needs to be fought.

While personality tests and reading about personality types has been regarded by some as self-indulgent navel gazing, there is a real value that comes from identifying our natural tendencies. Every personality has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding what yours are allows you take advantage of those strengths to overcome the weaknesses.

I was surfing around the Net yesterday and discovered the following list of suggestions to assist those task oriented individuals in their attempts to relax.  Balance in life is more important than most people think but many people talk about reaching a balance but never actually try to accomplish it.

  1. Schedule time to focus on the people around you and commit to setting aside your To-Do list during that time.
  2. Consciously make eye contact when your husband, partner, or children speak to you so that they have your full attention.  Be attentive and focused.
  3. Go anywhere where you can just enjoy being with your family without the distraction of things that need to be done.
  4. Look for opportunities to get things done in smaller chunks rather than saving them all up to do at once.

I take and make time to do absolutely nothing.  Some people call it meditation and others (task oriented people) call it loafing.  Regardless of the name it’s total down time where the mind can rest as well as the body.  Just a few minutes a day seems to work for me.  I admit I have my work cut out for me with my better-half but I refuse to give up the fight.


12-26-2013. Journal Entry – The After Christmas Blah’s   2 comments

We’ve spent most of the last two months preparing for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Since it was the first holiday season where the grandson was aware of what was going on, we went a little overboard with gifts and preparations.

On top of all of that my fiasco with this broken leg made everything that much more difficult and put more pressure on my better-half. We survived the insanity we created but just barely.  I’m really hoping that next year we can learn from our mistakes and move forward just a little bit smarter. It’s hard not getting caught up in the excitement caused by having a young child in the mix because the holidays are more for him than the rest of us.

The let down with Christmas being over is unbelievable. The better-half has fallen into a post Christmas comma. She’s been sleeping for most of the day today just trying to rest and regain some normalcy.  I haven’t done much better myself. I’m slowly recovering but I’m like a effing zombie today.  I’m drinking a lot of coffee because my energy level is non-existent and all of my motivation to do anything else has evaporated.

We have New Year’s coming soon and thank God we don’t celebrate that holiday like these others. Two of our Christmas guests are now enroute to the Big Apple for the ultimate Times Square New Year’s Eve experience. They must be out of there freaking minds. My better half and I both get claustrophobic in a room with no more than 10 people, I can’t imagine rubbing elbows with millions of people in Times Square. That would scare the bejesus out of us both.

I’m hoping that our quiet time will continue for at least two more days where we can kick back, relax and enjoy the snowy scenery.  I haven’t mentioned but we received another 4 1/2 inches of snow over the last 24 hours. It’s one of the times every winter that I enjoy the most, having a cover of fresh white snow over all the slush and dirt. These pictures were taken earlier this morning and you can see what I’m talking about.



It’s about time for me to put this computer to bed so I can get  to what I’m really thinking about doing today, a long, warm and quiet nap. I’ll worry about New Year’s when it gets here.


09-24-2013   Leave a comment

What better way to start my day.  I’ve been awake for no more than ten minutes just lying here trying to motivate myself into facing the day.  Since my better-half has two days off we decided to sleep in an extra few minutes and relax a little, or at least I did.  What’s the first thing I hear? Is it "Good morning honey" or "Wake up sunshine", of course not.  She calmly rolls over, looks me square in the eye and says "I think I’ll help you with the compost pile tomorrow."  I’m lying in bed looking out the window at the sunshine and thinking about how I’ll miss the warm weather and she’s thinking of a huge pile of compost.  There has to be some sort of message there but I haven’t a clue as to what it might be.

Days off.  When I was one of the working drones eking out a living I relished my days off.  I waited patiently for them to arrive so I could just kick back and enjoy myself.  They were crucial to my mental health and well being and I honestly forced myself not to think about work and the stresses involved there.

My better-half has yet to figure out how to enjoy a day or two without stress.  She just can’t seem to grasp the concept of relaxation.  Even on her days off she’s driven by her list of things to do.  She spends all day accomplishing tasks and if at the end of the day they all haven’t been accomplished, she’s disappointed and upset.  She has a work, work, work attitude and I’ve been trying to convince her to develop the ability to turn off the work mindset as soon as she arrives home.  She’s improved a great deal over the last few years but there’s still a lot room for improvement.

I normally set aside about twenty minutes after she arrives from work for her to vent her frustrations, have a beer, and talk it out.  Once that’s been taken care of she can then move on to her real life and possibly enjoy herself.  I guess I was lucky.  I was always able to turn off the work as soon as I entered my car to go home each night.  I gave almost no thought to it until the next morning when I had no choice but to deal with it again.  My jobs were always stressful and if I took all of that baggage home with me every night I would have lost my mind.

Well, she’s wandered off to get us some coffee but I refuse to leave the bed just yet.  She’s already scurrying around the house to begin her To Do list for the day. I’ll try to coerce her into coming back to bed with my magnetic personality and huge amounts of sex appeal and charm. Don’t you dare grin or laugh, it’s all true.  I hear the washing machine being turned on so maybe I’ve already waited too long to make my move.  I guess that’s the real story of my life.

Oh no, here she comes now, my own little energize bunny sweeping through the bedroom, dumping out the hamper, and then gone in a swirl of dirty clothes and the smell of laundry detergent.  Too late again.  I’ll try one more time to slow her down but it could get ugly.  I can see an extended middle finger in my future.

05-07-2013   2 comments

I’m what most people would consider a person who dresses down instead of up.  I’ve always been much more concerned with comfort than fashion (ask anyone who knows me).  For most of my adult life after serving in the Army I was required to wear a suit and tie every day.  I started out wearing sport coats and dress slacks, then to three piece suits, and finally to a more expensive brand of suits required by my position and the company I worked for.  Even as a police officer I wore the company uniform when not working undercover. A tightly tailored and uncomfortable outfit with a big hat, lots of leather, a gun, and other assorted tools of the trade.  I hated it.

I was forced to maintain quite an assortment of garments for a number of different companies because I didn’t want to look too stupid or out of style.  I eventually had almost a hundred ties, dozens of shirts, suits, and all of the stupid accoutrements  that seem to be required for each.  It was awful.  I’d have preferred on any given day to wear a T-shirt, shorts, and a raggedy old pair of flip flops.

After many years of "dressing for the man" I finally saw that light at the end of the tunnel and it was my retirement.  I actually never thought I’d retire but the State of Maine in it’s infinite wisdom offered me early retirement since my job was being eliminated due to fiscal concerns. I was pissed and upset for about five minutes and then began planning my future.

I needed to simplify my life in many ways. I decided that with no company or boss to help dress me I would finally get to go my own way.  My final day of work was one of those days where everyone comes around to say their goodbyes and to tell you how much they’d miss you (and good riddance).  About seventy percent of them are just being politically correct and couldn’t care less.  They should have just held an official funeral service right then and there because that’s what it felt like. I said all the right things, shook the right hands, smiled, and all the while thinking, "get me the hell out of here".

The next morning I awoke a new man.  I spent a good portion of that day packing up all of my suits, ties, sport coats, overcoats, dress shoes, and anything else I could think of.  That was one trip to Goodwill I’ll never forget. I kept one good suit, two dress shirts, one overcoat, and one pair of dress shoes for the occasional wedding and/or funeral. My closet was finally empty.  It took a few weeks longer to rid myself of all those other little things that tied me to certain companies for such a large part of my life.  It felt good to be free of it all and it also created a need for a huge wardrobe change and a serious shopping trip.

It’s now four and a half years later and things have changed dramatically.  I look in my closet and what do I see?  Three pairs of sneakers, four pairs of flip flops, one pair of dress shoes, two pairs of beach shoes, and four pair of Crocs.  Next comes ten pairs of jeans, fifty assorted T-shirts, twelve pairs of shorts, four dress shirts, one suit, one raincoat, and a flannel shirt or two so people will know I’m still from Maine.  One pair of hiking boots, a back pack, camera equipment, a walking stick, and a pair of really cool snow shoes w/ poles.

Welcome to my new so called life.

02-18-2013   Leave a comment

I decided that today would be my day of rest and relaxation.  I’ve spent most of the last week continuing my bedroom remodeling project.  The electrical has been rewired, Check! The insulation has been repaired, replaced, and a vapor barrier installed, Check!  The new framing for the closet and bedroom entry way has been completed, Check!  The room as been cleaned to within an inch of it’s life, Check! Most of the tools and excess materials have been removed, Check!  And last but not least, I’m just sick of working on it, Double Check! I’ve decided that after I hang the drywall over the next couple of weeks I’m done.  It’s time to call in the professionals to install the hardwood floor and the rest of the finish work.

Today is for vegging, reading, loafing, and doing huge amounts of nothing. The better-half has a day off and will be on a shopping safari with her daughter for a quite a while.  What does that mean? It means peace and quiet for a few hours. No loud annoying C & W music, no banging and clanging of pots in the kitchen, and no repeated requests for help. Just a good book, a comfy chair, and a freshly brewed cup of hot coffee. . . .

It’s later now and I’m pleased that I was able to read almost a hundred pages of my book without interruption.  The cat gave up trying to get my attention about an hour ago and has found a soft spot on the couch across the room to crash. Every so often he opens one eye to make sure I’m still there but I think he’s beginning to understand it’s his day off as well. . . .

Darkness has now fallen and my better-half has returned with a medium size load of purchases.  I’ve been officially granted limited access to her woman-cave this evening to construct a chair she recently purchased.  She claims it’s a chair that will be kept there just for me to use during my occasional visits.  I get that old feeling she’s telling me what she thinks I want to hear to get the job done.  Maybe I’m being a little cynical but I’m not really offended.  I just count my blessings that I’m permitted to visit the place at all.  It’s like being offered a private visit to Disneyland. . . .

The chair is now built and we’re having a drink to celebrate. We’re discussing current events and any other meaningless things we can think of.  The lasagna is cooking, the drinks are cold, the chair is easy on my backside, and life is good.  I guess I’m just easy to please at times.

We decided to watch a movie before retiring for the night and as usual within twenty minutes I’m watching the movie and she’s lightly snoring on the couch.  I’ll wait a while before I wake her which shouldn’t be too long because this movie, Beowulf, is one of the worse things I’ve ever seen.  I’d rather be getting my teeth drilled  than watch anymore of it. Just freaking awful.

I guess there’s no such thing as a perfect day so I’ll take what I can get. I’ve learned over the years to enjoy the good, try to ignore the bad, and keep on moving on.

Posted February 19, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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